Linde will build, own and operate a state-of-the-art SPECTRA generator plant to produce ultra-high purity nitrogen and oxygen for a new multi-billion-dollar semiconductor fabrication plant in Singapore.

Confirming the plans today (3rd Feb), the industrial gas giant said it will set-up the plant as the result of a newly inked supply agreement with a leading semiconductor manufacturer in the country.

John Panikar, Executive Vice-President of APAC at Linde, said, “Linde’s technology is designed to meet the stringent requirements of the semiconductor industry while maintaining excellent reliability and operating efficiency.”

“Our track record in delivering on-time large projects has enabled us to capture opportunities which further strengthen our leadership in the electronics end market.”

The agreement is one of over $1bn of new electronics projects signed by Linde with leading electronics companies in the past year.

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The wider effect

As gasworld explored just over a week ago, demand for semiconductors is as much as 17% higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, making new capacity very valuable and crucial for the market.

Further adding to this strain, the majority of on-stream semiconductor manufacturing facilities are operating at or above 90% utilisation, meaning there is limited additional supply to bring online without building facilities.

Read more: New semiconductor plants cannot come soon enough

Recently, gasworld and the industry as a whole has witness multiple moves in this industry, perhaps to relive some of this pressure. Alongside Linde’s above announcement, the company at the end of last year signed a long-term deal with one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers for the supply of industrial gases to a new multi-billion dollar manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Read more: Linde signs deal to supply new semiconductor plant in Arizona

As explained by Linde’s Dr. Paul Stockman in a 2018 article for gasworld, gases have been a key enabler of the electronics industry since the first commercial transistors and integrated circuits were produced in the mid-twentieth century. Properties unique to gases have made them the desired materials to build ever more complex devices: easy to transport and store; easy to dispense with precision and accuracy; and most importantly, easier to control desired chemical reactions at the molecular level.

At the core of almost all electronic devices are semiconductors. These are materials that have electrical conducting properties lying between conductors, which allow electrons to freely move, and insulators, which prevent the movement of electrons. The most familiar semiconductor material is elemental silicon, and by adding small amounts of other elements and/or placing it in an electric field, we can regulate the number of electrons moving at any time. 

Electronics are built up from semiconductor devices – capacitors, diodes, and transistors – just like the simple breadboard circuits we may have built in science lab, but thousands of times smaller in scale. And just like those simple circuits, these electronics have not only semiconductors, but also conducting wires, with insulators surrounding all the working devices to ensure the electrons move where the circuit engineers intend them.